Saturday, May 7, 2011

Anna's Mother

It had been a stressful week. Everywhere I turned, hands were out, begging for more of my time or money. I did what I could, often without a simple thank you, which only left me feeling used and unappreciated. What had happened to good manners?  Had the words “thank you” disappeared from the English language?

It was while I drove home from church that I mulled these things over. My little daughter, then seven, sat beside me, pretty as a picture in her flowered dress and white patent leather shoes.

My heart ached as I studied her sweet profile. The last few days had found me working feverishly on projects for the ungrateful crowd, often resulting in my being a disagreeable mother. My precious daughter’s requests had often been answered with sentences like, "Just a minute."  "I'm busy."  "Please, don't bother me now."  Yet there she sat on this brilliant Sunday afternoon, holding no grudges.

How I wished I could be so merciful to the people I worked with each day. I resented those who treated me poorly, robbing me of my time and disregarding my expertise.

Anna seemed to sense my mood and remained quiet on the drive home. As we rolled into the driveway, she said, "Since Daddy is at work, we can just have our own private time, can't we, Mama?"

I wasn’t sure what she meant, but it sounded good to me. "That will be great, baby. You can help Mama fix lunch and then we can have our own private time."  Through the course of preparing lunch, however, I forgot about her request. I lingered in my office, brooding like a spoiled brat.

In a minute, Anna joined me, settling into the wing-back chair beside my desk. She smoothed her dress and crossed her legs. Suddenly, I remembered the "private" time and wondered if this was an indication that it had begun. I smiled at her, saying nothing.

"Mama," she began, "I just want to tell you how good it is to have you and Daddy."

I straightened up and smiled her way. She didn't wait for my response.

"You and Daddy do so much for me, Mama. You buy me clothes and give me food," she said, her small hands folded in her lap. "You take me to a Christian school and buy me toys. And—" she patted the arms of the chair—" I have a nice chair like this to sit in.”  I noticed her lips began quivering. "You just do so much for me, Mama."

Suddenly, she bolted from the chair and flung herself into my arms. For a long while, we just held onto each other, both of us crying softly. It felt as if my heart would burst.

"I just wanted to say thank you, Mama,” she said. “Thank you so much."

It was a powerful moment. I had to catch my breath. The emotions that welled up inside me were unspeakable. I felt joy that, even with all of my pathetic blunders, I must have done something right as a mother. And I felt remorse, recalling the times during the week that I had ignored my child’s simple requests, while focusing on my unmet emotional needs.

But perhaps more than anything, there was an intense gratitude that God had already blessed me with the notable title: Anna’s Mother. I could not think of a single thing I would rather be.

by Dayle Allen Shockley, from Focus on the Family magazine.

© 2007 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.


  1. So throat has a lump in it as I hold back the tears.

  2. How many times have I experienced this? It is part of motherhood to experience remorse over the things left undone or said. Oh, but those sweet children who know just what to say or do to make Mama feel like the best mama in the world. Happy Mother's Day to you, Dayle.

  3. Okay, Dayle. Now you did it! I'm eating my morning Special K with berries and reading your post. So now there're tears in my cereal! Linda was able to hold them back but not me. Oh no!

    What a heart-tugger that post was. Anna is quite a gal, as a child and now, as an adult. Thanks for such a sweet remembrance. Susan

  4. Thank you for this. I've been going through a rough patch with my 18 year old daughter and I often find myself feeling guilty and questioning how I've done as a mother. This helped me remember those sweet times that let me know I did okay. I'm just going to have to trust in God to bring her back around.

  5. Most stories about my Anna (my dear niece, for those of you who don't know) are tear-jerkers. This one has always been a favorite of mine. Anna is still that precious little girl, and I'm glad she still has you.

  6. This is a sweet story. What a precious daughter-that is now a beautiful woman:) Thanks for sharing.

  7. What a great memory! And a great God! that blessed you w/ such a lovely daughter!

  8. Tack för det du delade med dig. Negativa människor tar kraft och har en tendens att ständigt kräva mer. Din dotter hon såg dig! Det räckte! Önskar dig en fortsatt trevlig helg! Zinnia

  9. What a special memory. Children are so intuitive. She knew exactly what you needed to hear at that moment. Thank you for sharing this, Dayle.

  10. For a thousand reasons that I'll keep to myself, this one leaves me almost speechless.

    I really loved and relate to it.

    Happy Mother's Day, Anna's Mother.

  11. Dayle,
    I often think back over the years and raising my two daughters and the times I pushed them into the background. It wasn't until years later when they both came to me (at different times) and THANKED me for being their Mom that I knew I, too, had done something right. Heartfelt tears for your beautiful story and your beautiful girl!


  12. Wow. This one has tears streaming down my face. It hit so close to home.

    You're blessed to have Anna and Anna is blessed to have you.

    Love you, my friend.

  13. This is beautiful, Dayle. Precious memory!

  14. Dayle, this reaches into the deep places of every mother's heart!
    Thank you for sharing about your lovely daughter.
    A very happy Mother's Day to you!!

  15. Moments like that are so special! You have a beautiful daughter. Happy Mother's Day.

  16. So precious. I think children learn to be thoughtful and sensitive from their parents. Obviously, she must have seen that type of love modeled. How blessed you both are, mother and daughter!

  17. So sweet! Precious little Anna and her grateful little heart!

    A most endearing photo of the two of you! Beautiful beyond words.

  18. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Pass the box of tissues! That was beautiful, Dayle!
    My title: Sarah and Alyssa's Mother.
    The best job I'll ever have.
    Thank you for the encouragement!!
    Hugs to you and your daughter....

  19. Oh wow, this is so very beautiful... (tears)


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle